Severe thunderstorms brought wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour, hail larger in diameter than a dime and heavy rainfall to Massachusetts on Friday.

It destroyed homes, downed trees and caused tens of thousands of power outages.

In Holyoke, more than 140 people were forced to flee their homes after the roofs were ripped from two apartment buildings in the city’s Flats neighborhood Friday night.

Large portions of the roofs were ripped from the multi-family homes located at 147 and 151 West Street, with piles of bricks from pediments along the roof lines falling down onto the sidewalk and cars parked in the street.

Holyoke Fire Department Capt. Kevin Cavagnag said two people sustained minor injuries due to the partial building collapse. They were transported by ambulance to the Holyoke Medical Center for treatment.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Boston reviewed photos of the damage and radar data from the storm. They did not see evidence of a tornado and believe straight-line winds caused the damage.

“Sometimes straight line winds can be more damaging than a tornado,” Bill Simpson, a hydrometeorological technician for the National Weather Service, told MassLive.

The National Weather Service said wind speeds reached up to 70 miles per hour in the Western Massachusetts city.

Immediately following the storm, Dr. Marcella R. Kelly Elementary School, the neighborhood elementary school, was opened to serve as a shelter for families. By Saturday morning, all displaced families received vouchers to stay at area hotels with support from the Red Cross.


Severe thunderstorms damage buildings, knock out power in Massachusetts

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